Rules to the Examiners


  1. The Candidate is required to know the Japanese names of the technique. If the Candidate excessively requests for the English translation, the examination should be stopped. Special circumstances may constitute leniency of this rule.
  2. The Candidate needs to demonstrate appropriate confidence, determination, self-control, adaptability, and concentration. The manifestation of these characteristics changes with experience, do not expect Nidan confidence from a Shodan Candidate.
  3. The Candidate should perform the techniques effectively, smoothly, and according to the prescribed method(s) in the Kata Manual when possible.
  4. The Candidate should kiai appropriately.
  5. The Candidate may request to repeat any technique. Examiners will base judgment of the technique on the repeat. If a Candidate excessively asks for repeats the examination should be stopped.
  6. When a section or list has been completed, the Examiners may ask the Caller to have the Candidate repeat specific techniques. To reduce the time required during an examination, the Examiners should limit requests for repeats to a maximum of three techniques (six techniques in Shinnin for Nidan and Sandan). The Examiner may include a request for any technique within the Candidate’s requirements as part of the repeat process. The Examiners may also ask the Candidate specific questions about the technique or list (please be clear on what you are asking).
  7. If a candidate performs an incorrect technique on a list, examiners will ask to have the technique repeated and the caller will read the translation. If a candidate misses the names of more than one technique on a list the examiners should choose one (1) technique to be repeated and mark the remaining incorrect arts as failed. If the candidate performs more than five (5) incorrect techniques on the entire exam the examiners will stop the exam. A technique, which the candidate asks to repeat before being asked by the examiners, will not count against them.
  8. If the Candidate fails a technique or list, the Examiner will give a written reason for failure.
  9. When documenting the reason for failure, Examiners should use clear language based on observed actions and technique. Examiners should avoid references to intangible concepts such as “shin” and “spirit”. In these cases, Examiners should focus on directing the Candidate to work on specific items that aid in the development of the associated esoteric principles.
  10. At any time the examiner feels the Candidate may not pass the examination, they should conference with the other examiners. The examiners will confer and determine if the examination will continue or should be stopped. If stopped, the Candidate will have failed.
  11. For all exams: the examination will be stopped when two or more examiners have failed the Candidate on more than one (1) technique on the same list or more than five (5) techniques on the entire exam. For a Nidan exam: the rules are the same as above, except for the Shinnin list: the examination will be stopped when two or more examiners have failed the Candidate on more than two (2) techniques.
    1. Definition of a failed technique:
      • In order for a technique to be considered a “FAIL” two examiners must mark it as such on their own respective exam form. All examiners’ decisions are considered equal, regardless of the examiner’s rank and/or title. If only one examiner fails a technique, that means two examiners (three for a yodan exam) consider it acceptable and the exam shall continue. The purpose of this rule is so that no one examiner can fail an exam: two or more examiners must agree and mark the technique as failed.
    2. Determination of when to stop an exam due to the number of failed techniques:
      • For Shodan exams:
        • If two (2) or more examiners fail the SAME two (2) or more techniques on ANY list, the exam shall be stopped.
      • For Nidan and Sandan exams:
        • If two (2) or more examiners fail the SAME two (2) or more techniques on any of the following lists, the exam shall be stopped:
          • Yawara, Nage Te, Shime Te, Oku no Te, Goshin Jitsu, Tanto no Maki, Tanju no Maki, Ate Mi, Uke Te, Keri Te, or Kappo
          • Shinyo no Maki (Sandan exam only)
        • If two (2) or more examiners fail the SAME three (3) or more techniques on Shinnin no Maki, the exam shall be stopped.
      • For Yodan exams:
        • Same as the above for Nidan and Sandan, plus: if two (2) or more examiners fail the SAME two (2) or more techniques on these additional lists, the exam shall be stopped:
          • Bo no Maki, Daito no Maki, Tessen no Maki
        • For Yodan exams, there must be a majority vote to pass a technique. Since there is an even number of examiners, there exists the possibility of a tie vote. In the case of a tie, the technique is considered to be a fail.
      • For ALL exams:
        • If two (2) or more examiners fail MORE THAN five (5) [in other words, the SAME six (6) or more] techniques on the entire exam, regardless of how many per list, the exam shall be stopped.
    3. Further information:
      • If only one examiner fails two or more techniques on a list, although that examiner may feel the exam should be stopped, the other two examiners have the majority and the exam shall continue. An exam is to be automatically stopped only if TWO OR MORE examiners are in agreement on the SAME two or more techniques on the SAME list, or the SAME five or more techniques on the entire exam.
      • In the event a single examiner fails two techniques on the same list, as the examination continues that examiner shall continue to grade the remaining techniques based solely upon the merit of those later techniques, and should not view them in light of having failed a previous list.
      • Each examiner has an individual voice, and should make his/her own decision to pass or fail a technique without influence from the other examiners. The two boxes marked PASS and FAIL on the exam cover sheet represent the individual recommendation of each examiner, not an overall recommendation of the exam board as a whole.
    4. The information as stated above in 11-a, 11-b, and 11-c pertains to stopping an exam based solely on the number of failed techniques. These rules do not preclude the examining board from agreeing to stop the exam for other reasons at any time. Should that decision be made, an explanation of why the exam was stopped is required to be written by each examiner on the exam form cover page where indicated.
  12. For a Yodan exam: a majority (three or more examiners) must pass the examination for the Candidate to pass the exam.
  13. Scoring will be “Pass or Fail” on each of the arts tested.
  14. If the examiners feel that the Uke is having a negative impact on the examination, they should suggest to the Candidate to use a new Uke.
  15. An oral exam will be given and graded at the time of the physical exam. The oral exam should cover philosophy, general knowledge, the Esoteric Principles of Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu, and the AJJF.
  16. There shall be no teaching on the mat during the examination.
  17. Examiners may not use negative comments, facial expressions or tone of voice to discourage the Candidate.
  18. The examiners may not discuss subjects that are unrelated to the examination.
  19. Examiners should be fair and unbiased, with no double standards in judging.
  20. The exam room may be cleared if requested by the Candidate, the Manager of Examinations, the Regional Examinations Coordinator, or any examiner.
  21. Kappo: For Shodan and Nidan examinations, examiners should refrain from questioning the applicant regarding the physiological theories behind the techniques; it is sufficient for these ranks to merely be able to perform the physical techniques.


  • Board of Professors
  • Examinations Committee Chair – regarding exam procedures

These documents are found within this School handbook: